Saturday at WorldCon

So, sorry for the pause, but very early on Sunday morning, I got a call from my mother. She’d hurt her back and didn’t think she could take proper care of the dogs and could I please come home. So an hour later I was on the road. I will say, 6:15 AM is a great time to leave Chicago, in practical terms. The drive took a full hour less on the way home than the way there. My mother’s all right, btw. She probably has a pinched nerve, which is no fun as I’m sure a lot of us know from personal experience, but she’s not in much pain as long as she can sit or lie down and doesn’t have to do stuff related to taking care of the dogs. Surprising how much bending that requires, as I’ve noticed when I’ve had back trouble myself.

The dogs are, I will add, extremely happy that I came back a day early.

But all this means I couldn’t post about Saturday until now.

Saturday was a busy day! Various panels I wanted to sit in on, then a panel of my own, various other activities, I seemed to be on the go practically the whole day.

The panel That’s Not How That Works was great fun. A couple people in technology and engineering, someone experienced with horses (not me, someone else), and an expert in linguistics – her podcast is Lingthusiam, and you should check it out if you’re interested in linguistics. I downloaded some episodes, which I haven’t listened to yet, but listen to this: “Your brain is where language – and all of your other thinking – happens. In order to figure out how language fits in among all the other things you do with your brain, we can put people in fancy brain-scanning machines and then create very controlled setups where exactly one thing is different. For example, we can compare looking at words versus nonwords of the same length, or listening to audio clips of a language you speak versus a language you don’t speak.” … and that’s what the episode is about. That sounds so interesting and cool! I’m looking forward to listening to that.

The moderator of the panel started off by noting that mistakes about guns and horses are particularly risky for authors. I mean, risky in the sense that lots of readers will notice and care. (I would add swords to that list.)

Then he asked panelists, “What’s one thing that doesn’t work the way people think it does?” Of course I said wolf behavior is not like dog behavior and neither is a bit like werewolf behavior as envisioned by modern urban fantasy and paranormals. The moderator then won my heart by saying, basically, “Oh, really? Can you expand on that a little?” Why yes, yes I can, and thank you for asking!

The linguist pointed out that a world probably would have a lot more than one language and that “Common” is a trope that has problems. The engineering types pointed out that various things common in SF don’t make sense, but don’t ask me what, I’m not sure I followed what they were saying. The expert on horses said very firmly that horses cannot gallop for long periods of time and that if you don’t give them plenty of the right kind of food they will promptly die. (I helped by asking leading questions, like “So what gaits can a horse maintain for a long time?” I’m sure you already know that the answer is “They can walk and trot, sorry if that’s not thrilling, but if you’re going any distance, those are the gaits you’re going to have to use.”

So, that was a good panel. I enjoyed it a lot and I think the other panelists and the audience would say the same.

That was my last panel for this WorldCon, however.

I deeply regret not getting back to the art show. There were a great number of items I wanted to look at more closely and perhaps buy, plus a whole annex of the art show I never got a chance to see. Other that that, overall, a good convention.

Archon is coming up now, and I sure hope everyone has a totally boring weekend with no injuries, illnesses, or excitement of any kind.

In fact, I see that my Archon schedule arrived in my inbox this morning. Let me see …

Religion and its Place in Science Fiction and Fantasy 1 Oct 2022, Saturday 10:00 – 11:00

Plenty of our favorite worlds have their own religion, or have a mix of real world religions. How do they stem from what we know in the real world?

The Hero in Fiction 1 Oct 2022, Saturday 12:00 – 13:00

What makes a hero compelling or boring? How do you craft your novels’ heroes? What traps and tired tropes should you avoid?

Best Indie Authors of Science Fiction & Fantasy 1 Oct 2022, Saturday 15:00 – 16:00

Have a favorite indie author you’d like to talk about?  Looking for new authors to read?    

Science Fiction Settings – Beware of Planetary Chauvinism 1 Oct 2022, Saturday 16:00 – 17:00

Most space-based science fiction starts with the idea home is a planet – but what if that wasn’t the case?

Some of those are going to require research. I better get on that immediately.

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4 thoughts on “Saturday at WorldCon”

  1. Pretty good weekend for me. We celebrated my father’s 90½ birthday–he had a terrible heart attack just before 90 and has recovered quite amazingly–or miraculously, depending on who you ask. *And* my mother’s 82nd birthday–her first non-COVID since age 79. Quite a time on Saturday.

  2. “That’s Not How That Works” sounds like a good topic for a whole conference— surely no one ran out of things to say in a single session. I laughed at the language one; I wasn’t expecting anyone to take issue with ‘Common’ ever.

    Thanks for the Lingthusiasm pointer! Did you see their IPA chart redesign? I am totally getting that print when they finalize it!

  3. I didn’t poke around on the Lingthusiam site, Mona, so nope, I missed that. Thanks for the pointer! And you are very right. There’s no end to the things that ought to come up under the topic That’s Not How That Works!

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